In Bad Johnson, heartthrob Cam Gigandet plays Rich, a womanizing jackass who finds himself in predicaments when pleasing his manly needs. He cheats on girlfriends, checks out T&A, and forgets women he’s gone to bed with. According to the film, some of this is charming – usually when Gigandet is smirking and trying to woo.
Alas, Rich’s mojo becomes too much of a burden. In frustration, he wishes away his penis. The next morning, his member is missing from his body and calling him on a pay phone. Rich’s lil’ buddy has now taken on the form of an equally sleazy human man (played by Nick Thune) and has nothing but screwing, smoking pot, and playing video games on the mind.
The reason why Bad Johnson doesn’t work isn’t because of that premise, but rather how it’s carried out. It’s an absurd premise that needs to embrace its craziness, but director Huck Botko gets cold feet.
I can’t help but think of how this movie would’ve been conceived under the directorial eye of Wet Hot American Summer’s David Wain or Bruce McCulloch of The Kids in the Hall. This even could’ve been the comeback project for Miss March’s Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore. Heck, Thune practically looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch version of Moore.
I only mention these names because I know these filmmakers wouldn’t have punked out as badly as this production does.
Botko’s comedic vision and Jeff Tetreault’s script willingly fall into a format that past Dane Cook comedies often took. An audacious lead or set-up is introduced to the audience, to which the film then plucks away at artificially sweetened romantic comedy conventions leading to a doughy ending. The film hopes its potty mouth will act as enough camouflage to convince movie goers it still has an edge.
Bad Johnson does have a few lowbrow laughs, but most of it is gutless. There’s a lot of slang thrown around and a fair bit of nudity, but it doesn’t make up for the sickeningly candy coated competition between Gigandet and Thune to get the girl. No matter how hard Botko tries to make the chemistry work between his leads, the romance doesn’t feel lovey and the cutthroat alpha males aren’t dashing or amusing.
I also didn’t appreciate how women were represented in Bad Johnson. Tetreault tries to cover up his mistakes with outspoken, quick-witted female leads, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that most women are present just for Rich and Rich’s penis to have sex with.
Overall, Bad Johnson is a missed opportunity and an all around wimpy rom-com. Rich loses his penis, and the audience gets the shaft.